Treat sanitation as public good: UN at launch of Sanitation and Hygiene fund (Down to Earth)

Context: The United Nations earlier this month launched the Sanitation and Hygiene Fund (SHF) to provide accelerated funding to countries with the heaviest burden of diseases stemming from lack of sanitation services and have the least ability to respond to them.


  • It also aims to raise $2 billion over the next five years for these countries.
  • The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has blown the lid off poor sanitation and hygiene practices. The key to keeping the virus at bay is hand-washing — a facility inaccessible to three billion people across the globe.
  • An estimated four billion people worldwide do not have access to safely managed sanitation services, and until they do, the world cannot meet the goals of inclusive and sustainable development by 2030
  • SHF vision is that of the Sustainable Development Goal 6 target 2, to achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and to end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations.
  • The fund is hosted by the UN Office for Project Services, which provides technical advice and project implementation to the UN and its partners.

Sanitation and Hygiene Fund (SHF)

  • The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) will cease to exist as of 31 December 2020, when the organization will become the Sanitation and Hygiene Fund (SHF).
  • The Fund will have a new structure and operating model. It is an investment mechanism with an operating model that has been designed to deliver sustainable impact at scale. The Sanitation and Hygiene Fund has four strategic objectives:
  1. To scale up household sanitation and hygiene services
  2. To address gaps in menstrual health and hygiene while promoting the empowerment of women and girls
  3. To increase sustainable water, sanitation, hygiene, and menstrual health and hygiene services in schools and health care facilities; and
  4. To support innovation towards safely managed sanitation, hygiene and menstrual health and hygiene